You’re a beautiful nightmare
And nothing can wake me up from you
Unable to sleep, he flipped through the DVR and settled on re-watching a replay of the 2016 Daytona 500.
Amidst the chaos of his personal life, he had walked away with the biggest win of his career – the Daytona 500. He had been able to enjoy the week surrounding that with peace. He remembered the fun he had with the team in victory lane, followed by the partying afterwards. He remembered the week’s worth of interviews, trips throughout the United States, and how much fun it turned into.
He couldn’t think of possibly wiping that smile off his face. It was that week he felt free, confident, and set to tackle the year ahead with the ease.
Closing his eyes, he wondered if he could get back to that thought now a couple months later.
Denny climbed out of the car under the red flag for rain, biting his tongue as he went to turn his head.
“Denny, are you okay?” He hears from his teammate, as he goes to turn his head in the voice’s direction. He then lets out another moan as he changes his mind on that.
“My neck is hurting,” he answers simply. “I think I pulled something.” He then walks away from the car with Kyle, heading over to the team’s pit box. “I’m going to go get some ice, some Tylenol, and hopefully it’ll chill out.”
“Hope it works out.” He then walks away from Kyle, letting out a sigh.
He knew why his neck was hurting. It was obvious based on the past couple of nights. He had thought about telling someone about the deal he made with Diane, and reached out to an old female friend. Well, it turned out that Diane was watching at all times and caught the interaction. She made sure to restate her claim that night, throwing the blackmail back at him. She followed it up by demanding sex, among other things.
He threatened to tell someone, but she said to him, ‘And who is going to believe you?’ The thought rang in his mind so he kept quiet, not stating a single word about what happened. However, thanks to her grabbing him and pulling him back by the shoulder, it was obvious that she had done something based on the amount of pain he was feeling.
Throughout the rain delay, he spent time with the trainers at Joe Gibbs Racing, getting a massage among other things on his neck, trying to cool down the pain. However, nothing worked.
With already having a win a couple weeks later, Joe Gibbs suggested putting Erik Jones in the car for the rest of the event. Denny, knowing he couldn’t stand the pain much longer, simply accepted. Perhaps some nice relaxation would heal it, while clearing his mind. Maybe he could then do the right thing with Diane.
“You better not say anything as to why you’re sitting out,” she whispers in his ear as she runs her nail roughly across his neck. He then glances at her, almost like a child frightened by the punishment they could receive.
“I’ve got this under control,” he answers. “I’ll simply tell them that I pulled a muscle or something.”
“Good boy. Then we can get back to our business.” She then gives him a kiss on the cheek before watching him walk off with the team.
“So you pulled something in the car?” Kyle asks post-race as Denny lets out a sigh.
“TV excuse,” he answers, truthfully. “Diane and I had a fight, and she pulled me back and it’s been bugging me since then.” Kyle then looked at Denny with surprise.
“Dude, really?” Denny lets out a sigh. “So what are you going to do?” Denny thought about spitting out the details right then and there. However, a glance from her in the distance told him otherwise.
“It was a stupid disagreement. We’ve already talked it over. I don’t see anymore issues.”
“That’s fine, but if for some reason you need a place to stay or someone to talk to, come find me. I’m here if you need a friend.” Denny accepted that, putting that in the memory bank. He knew when he grew enough courage he’d take him up on the offer.
“Ugh!!!” He lets out a frustrated sigh as he sits up in the bed for the third time that night. “Why didn’t you say something that night? Why didn’t you just spill it? Why did you have to let that witch scare you? Why did you have to think you could change her ways? Why did you have to care, or create that damn book anyway?”
He then gets out of the bed, walking to the dresser. He rips it open, taking out the familiar book as he lets out a sigh. He was glad that the police had been quick to find her before she could release the book – he had to admit even speaking with Kyle that he was worried about that being released.
He then walks downstairs, walking out on to the back porch, chucking it as far as he could over the railing. He then turned around, leaning back against it, let his legs give out and sat right there against it.
“Nobody said this was going to be easy,” he starts. “You’ll figure it out, somehow. You just need to forget about her so you can sleep tonight.”
He then yawns, glancing in through the sliding door at the stove. It was already 5 in the morning, which meant he was supposed to getting up in three hours and beginning to get ready for the day.
How was he supposed to make it through everything he had to do?
“Why can’t I think of anything else when I close my eyes?” He questions as he stands up and heads inside. He thought about reaching for where the bottle was stored in the cabinet, but stopped himself a he remembered the conversation with Kyle. “No, I can’t let her win this battle. I can’t let her take over me. I can’t do that.”
He then walks back through the house, returning back to his room as he flopped back in the bed once again. Closing his eyes, he hoped that being dead-tired resulted in finally being able to sleep without a thought of her.
Though he knew that was going to be near to impossible as no matter how much she hurt him, he admitted that he loved her dearly and wished they could’ve had a future together.